Sunday, November 2, 2014

WEEKEND RECAP: Reiter wins Big Sky; SeattleU women take WAC crown; Steen wins GNAC...

Here is the roundup of action from the various conference championships involving Washington's seven other NCAA Division I & II schools (Washington and Washington State competed in the Pac-12 championship meet Friday in Oakland):


In Grand Forks, North Dakota, Eastern Washington's Sarah Reiter (abovephoto courtesy EWU Athletics) emerged victorious at the Big Sky conference championship meet, running 17:06 over the 5k course in sunny but cold and windy conditions.

Reiter's victory was the first individual cross country conference championship won by an Eagle, and also helped Eastern to tie its highest finish in conference history, finishing fourth with 136 points.

Behind Reiter was Berenice Penaloza in ninth in 17:36, followed by Katie Mahoney in 22nd (17:55), Paula Gil-Echevarria in 34th (18:13), and Mayra Chavez in 70th (18:54).

According to EWU coach Chris Zeller, "I am absolutely ecstatic for Sarah. At the beginning of last year, she wasn't sure if she wanted to keep running after she transferred (from Montana State). After the race, she was looking back on how far she has come. She was overwhelmed and it took a while to sink in that she is a conference champion."

"It was surreal. Sarah looked strong throughout the entire race. At mile two, she gave me a smile and a thumbs up. She was collected and calm the entire race as she gradually picked up the pace."

Northern Arizona took the team title with 61 points, followed by Weber State with 80 and Montana State with 122.

On the men's side, the Eagles finished sixth with 151 points, only eight points out of fourth, as #10 ranked Northern Arizona easily took the team title with 24 points, outdistancing Southern Utah's 66 points.

Vince Hamilton was Eastern's top finisher for the fourth time this season, finishing 13th with a time of 24:41 over the 8k course. Sophomore Stephen Bottoms finished 28th (25:32), and sophomore Alex Kimsey was 30th with a time of 25:33. Senior Chris Schroll finished 39th (26:01.0).

Futsum Zienasellasie of Northern Arizona took the individual title in a time of 24:08.  NAU teammate Nathan Weitz from Spokane finished tenth in 24:31.


In McAllen, Texas, Seattle University, led by Sophie Curatilo's runner-up finish, placed four runners in the top ten to claim the program's first Western Athletic Conference championship at the Palm View Golf Club.

Curatilo was second, running 17:48 over the 5k course behind conference champ Courtney Frerichs of Missouri-Kansas City's 16:52.

Lila Rice was fifth in 17:59, followed by Taylor De Laveaga's seventh place time of 18:04.  Elena Smith was tenth in 18:23, and Madison Davis rounded out the Redhawk scorers in 19th in 18:53.

“This is something that we have had our eye on since day one this season, something the ladies have been really focused on, and they have been very determined, more so than I have seen in any other season,” Steidl said. “I knew what our mentality was after last year, and that we would build on that throughout this season. This is a very special thing for our program, and I know they are very excited about accomplishing this goal.”

The Redhawk men finished fourth with a team score of 84 points, as Utah Valley won the team title with 37 points.

Gus Arroyo led the Redhawks with his fifth place with a time of 25:22 over the 8k course. Joe Charbonneau was the next Redhawk to cross the finish line in 16th place in 26:10, followed by Ben Monk in 19th place in 26:20.

Rounding out SeattleU's scorers were Collin Overbay in 24th place with a time of 26:34, just ahead of teammate Chay Weaver in 25th place in 26:38.

Daniel Rubio of New Mexico State won the men's title in 24:56.


In Sunnyvale, California, Nick Roche's 15th place finish led Gonzaga to a third place team finish in the West Coast Conference meet.

Roche placed 15th overall with an 8,000-meter time of 23 minutes, 52 seconds at Baylands Park, the home course of Santa Clara University. All five Zags finished in the top 30 to help the team to 109 points. Portland took the title with 28 points, just holding off BYU, who had 31.

Troy Fraley hung with Roche and the lead group for much of the race, but fell off the pace towards the end, coming in 21st at 24:15. Kyle Branch had a solid race, nearly nipping his teammate Fraley, just a second behind for 22nd. Danny Lunder and Colin O’Neil rounded out the top five for the Zags in 25th and 26th, respectively. Lunder came across in 24:27, while O’Neil was at 24:32.

Portland won the team title, led by David Perry's victory in 23:26.  BYU senior Conner Peloquin from Gig Harbor finished fifth in 23:31.

For the Gonzaga women, juniors Shelby Mills and Amelia Evans placed in the top ten to help lead the Zags to a fifth place finish.

Mills was seventh in 20:07 over the 6k course, while Evans was tenth in 20:30.

The next group of Zag women was led by a career-best run from junior Erin Bergmann, followed by freshman Jordan Thurston and junior Zoe Urcadez. The three were able to feed off each other and help move the Zags well into sole possession of fifth overall. Bergmann was 31st  at 21:27, followed by Thurston in 32nd at 21:29 and Urcadez in 34th at 21:32.

Portland's Tansey Lystad of Kirkland, a product of Inglemoor HS, won the WCC title in a time of 19:40, while BYU took the women's team title with a score of 36 points over Portland's 57.

The next meet for all three schools will be the NCAA Western Regionals on November 14th at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, California.


In Monmouth, Oregon, Western Washington senior Katelyn Steen (left/photo courtesy Great Northwest Athletic Conference) won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title, running the 6k Ash Creek Preserve course in a meet-record time of 20:14, finishing 19 seconds ahead of Simon Fraser's Rebecca Bassett (20:33), with Central Washington's Dani Eggleston another 10 seconds back to take third.

Seattle Pacific's Anna Patti was seventh in 20:55, while Connie Morgan of Central Washington was ninth in 21:03, and Taylor Guenther was tenth in 21:03.

In the closest team finish in conference history, Simon Fraser took the GNAC title with 62 points, followed by Alaska Anchorage at 63, and Western Washington at 64.

Central Washington was fourth with 85 points, followed by Seattle Pacific at 130.  Saint Martin's was tenth with 298 points, led by Megan Teigen's 43rd place finish in 22:36.

In the men's competition, Western Washington's Isaac Griffith finished ninth overall in 25:24 over the 8k course to lead the Vikings to yet another runner-up finish behind Alaska-Anchorage.

The Seawolves, led by Henry Cheseto, who ran 24:36, placed 1-2-3, and had seven runners finish in the top ten for a low score of 18.

After Western's 61 points for the runner-up spot, Central Washington finished fifth with 159 points, led by Rudy Spencer's 18th place time of 25:33.

Saint Martin's was ninth with 229 points, with Frank Krause leading the way in 32nd in 26:10, while Seattle Pacific was tenth with 235 points.  Turner Wiley was the Falcons' top placer in 19th, running 25:34.

The runners now have a three-week break prior to the NCAA West Regionals, November 22nd at Amend Park in Billings, Montana.  The top six team finishers at Billings will qualify for the NCAA national meet on December 6th at Louisville, Kentucky.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Seattle University, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

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